A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

10 January 2018 — 1958 mst

Montana Dems are better at electing governors than state legislators

Democrats suffered disastrous defeats in state legislative elections during Barack Obama’s administration. Legislatures flipped from Democratic to Republican control. Radical conservatives resisted expanding Medicaid, and used their power to gerrymander legislative and congressional districts (see David Daley’s Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count).


Montana was no exception. The Montana Democratic Party suffered heavy losses in legislative elections after 2008, losing 16 seats in the MT House in 2010. Although Democrats regained some seats in subsequent elections, they’re still down 18 seats in the MT House. Meanwhile, the party continues to win gubernatorial elections, and Jon Tester’s elections for the U.S. Senate, but no longer can win statewide elections for partisan political office (SecST, Att Gen, Auditor, and OPI).

Montana’s Democrats hope, and I fear, expect, this fall’s election will be a Throw the Republican Bums Out affair. I’m less optimistic. Filing for office in Montana commences tomorrow, but some Democratic candidates filed C-1 forms weeks and months ago so they could start raising money. Those candidates are hungry and smart. Others are not, and they’re not running hard enough to have a decent chance of winning. Don’t expect them to be in a position to ride a Democratic wave if one materializes.